Aamina Ahmad Recognized for Debut Novel

The Return of Faraz Ali has won three awards for the assistant professor
On left, person with dark hair to shoulders, light skin, wearing blue shirt; on right, book cover abstract color background and large white letters: The Return of Faraz Ali, Aamina Ahmad
Assistant Professor Aamina Ahmad published her debut novel in 2022.

Assistant Professor Aamina Ahmad's debut novel The Return of Faraz Ali last month was awarded the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize from the UK Society of Authors. The book had already won the LA Times Book Prize's Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Best First Novel award from the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and New York Times Notable Book of 2022. Congratulations!

Aamer Hussein, 2023 Gordon Bowker Volano Prize judge, noted, "In her ambitious and accomplished first novel, Aamina Ahmad chronicles the lives of her protagonist and his fragmented family against a backdrop of wars, divided nations, and  turbulent national and international histories. Spanning several decades, this is a skillfully crafted evocation of place, time, and memory, at the meeting point of private tragedy and public turmoil."

The New York Times described the novel as “stunning not only on account of the author’s talent, of which there is clearly plenty, but also in its humanity" and continued, "The fullness of the characters and their intersecting lives make this far more than a murder mystery."

Ahmad's short fiction has appeared in the anthology And the World Changed as well as in several journals. Her play The Dishonored was produced by Kali and toured the UK in 2016. She has received a Pushcart Prize and a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award. Raised in London, Ahmad holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and received a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. She was Li-shen Visiting Writer at Mills College 2020-2021 before joining the Department of English's Creative Writing Program in fall 2022. Read our interview.


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